The District of Columbia has reintroduced legislation to prevent discrimination by algorithms in employment decisions. The Stop Discrimination by Algorithms Act of 2023 would prohibit algorithmic discrimination by employers and require service providers to ensure that their AI tools are compliant with the law.
The bill includes regulations for employers and prohibits algorithmic discrimination in other areas, such as consumer credit decisions, education and housing.
The new bill would force employers to contractually require that their AI service providers comply with the proposed law.
Employers would be required to conduct an annual discrimination audit, which must be conducted by a third party and has a reporting requirement. Employers would also have a poster requirement informing employees about the law, as well as a required pop-up notice on certain systems.
The council included a wide definition of protected data that an algorithm might use. The bill addresses the use of IP addresses, equipment identification or MAC addresses, history of consumer purchases, geolocation data, education records, certain automobile records and more.
While employees already have protections from workplace discrimination, the purpose of this bill is to provide them new protections in relation to the data that algorithmic-based systems would use in making decisions to hire, promote or terminate an employee.
New York City previously approved legislation to prevent algorithmic discrimination. The District would need to look to New York and observe how they address their audit and reporting issue before moving forward with this bill. The city would also need to address how to verify that AI service providers are not using protected information in their algorithms. Typically, employers do not develop or maintain AI systems, and they rely on the assurances from AI providers that their systems will perform as promised and maintain bias-free results.
While employers may use AI for hiring, promotions and terminations, the employer is ultimately responsible and liable for discriminatory conduct regardless of who is making employment decisions, whether it is a human, algorithm or service provider.
If you believe that you have been the victim of employment discrimination in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia, then contact Potomac Legal Group to schedule a consultation. We have extensive experience in representing employees who have experienced all types of discrimination in the workplace.